The Life and Death of Manuel Ellis

Manuel Ellis cried out “I can’t breathe, sir,” as he was killed by Tacoma police on March 3, 2020. Since then, as a nationwide movement to protest police shootings has emerged, his family has been fighting for justice and keeping his story alive. Meanwhile, the investigation into his death has been marred by delays and conflicts of interest and the state has yet to complete the investigation. See the two-part investigative series here.

I worked with investigative reporter Patrick Malone and fellow Seattle Times video journalists Corinne Chin and Ramon Dompor to develop and report Manny Ellis’ story over the course of several months. Each of us filmed the various parts and I partnered with Corinne on the edit. While Patrick’s story dove deep into the flawed investigation, our short film did the heavy lifting on humanizing Manny and helping his family and eye witnesses tell the story.

In the short doc we developed, we deliberately did not utilize the violent footage filmed by bystanders of Manny’s encounter with police. We were acutely aware that including the violent images can exclude people from accessing our coverage. Instead, in a secondary video I edited an expanded account of the witnesses.

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